Florida Nursing Home Company Slapped with $17 Million Dollar Medicare Fraud Fine
In a perfect world, the main focus at nursing homes and assisted living facilities would be the health and welfare of patients and residents. Unfortunately these days, many nursing homes put profits before patients. Profits that come from us, the taxpayers, by defrauding the US government through the Medicare program.
Plaza Health Network is only the latest company to agree to make restitution to the government. The Miami company, previously known as the Hebrew Homes Health Network, agreed to a $17 million settlement after its CFO alleged the company had been defrauding Medicare for three years. The settlement was announced by the FBI, the US Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week.
The case dates back to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by then chief financial officer, Stephen Beaujon. He reported his company was paying doctors to make referrals to Plaza Health, saying those physicians were “sham medical directors” in place to raise the company’s profits. Additionally, Beaujon said, Plaza Health was created false records to support its improper Medicaid and Medicare claim billing fraud. The former CFO said Plaza Health billed the government healthcare system for close to $130 million between 2008 and 2011, according to the whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2012.
This is the largest settlement paid by a nursing home in the country for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. The company has seven homes in South Florida and was found 60 years ago.
Medicare fraud hurts all Americans and must not be tolerated. Similarly, when nursing homes and assisted living facilities focus on profit and not patients, families suffer the consequences. If your elderly loved one has been injured due to the negligence or abuse of nursing home staff or other patients, contact a skilled, compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer who will fight for your family. Call the Sugarman Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.